Cruel: Bearing Witness to Animal Exploitation Book
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Cruel: Bearing Witness to Animal Exploitation Book

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Cruel: Bearing Witness to Animal Exploitation

by Sue Coe

Longtime activist illustrator Sue Coe, a pioneer defender of animal rights, has produced a striking new work that furthers her career-long efforts to expose the exploitation of animals raised and slaughtered for human consumption. Richly illustrated with full-color paintings and drawings throughout, Cruel conveys the terrible beauty and intense suffering of both the animals and the workers involved in their violent destruction. While unexpectedly beautiful in its depiction of the barbaric consequences of meat-eating, this is a deeply moving, upsetting work, not for the faint of heart. Armed only with her sketchpad, Coe is often allowed access to places no photographer or reporter is admitted: The result is a passionate testimony to the waste and violence perpetrated by one species against so many others—and as both the text and unforgettable illustrations of this book make clear, these actions will come back to haunt humanity. Aside from factory farming, in Cruel, Coe also sets her sights on lesser-known yet equally shocking methods used for commercial fishing, the hidden horrors of the wool industry, the flagrant use of pesticides, and livestock "protection" collars. This is social and political art at its most powerful, in the tradition of Francisco Goya, Käthe Kollwitz, and Diego Rivera. Cruel includes notes supplementing Coe's own texts and illustrations by Judy Brody, with whom she has previously collaborated. Brody runs the website Graphic Witness ( "social commentary through graphic imagery."

208 pages, hardcover.

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